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THE DERBY PROJECT

Afsana Khan
THE DERBY PROJECT
Image: Derby's previous pair of front legs

Over the past few years 3D technology has changed lives with making products more accessible, cheaper and easier to manufacture. This is especially true in case of the produce of 3D prosthetics. This sector has extended to include our beloved furry friends. It is not the first time a pet has been helped using 3D technology, but Derby is a particularly famous pet. 

Derby, the dog, was born without paws and malformed forelegs. He was taken in by Peace and Paws Dog Rescue after his owners could no longer care for him. In October of 2014, Derby was adopted by Tara Anderson, who happened to be 3D Systems’ Director of CJP Product Management. 

Since then, Derby has received a string of different prosthetics. One upgrade after another, starting with a wheeled cart, a running man prosthetic and lastly a looped design that he has used for almost a year. This last design was manufactured using a 3D printer and allowed Derby to move about freely.

The only drawback was that the prosthetics were still too short and did not raise Derby up to his full height. However, since Derby had literally spent his whole life crawling on his front limbs, his back strength had to be developed gradually, for him to start wearing a taller prosthetic. 

On December 29 2015, 3D System released a new video updating their progress with Derby. They have made Derby a new set of prosthetics, that have finally raised him up to his proper height. After many different design iterations, that included just making the previous design kit a bit bigger, 3D systems came up with a design that involves more of a give and take. Like human knees. Something that Derby would be able to control on his own. 

 

 

Anderson and her team eventually looked into Selective Laser Sintering. This process would give them a material that can be pressured into retracting, but not as much as rubber – basically sturdy, but not rigid. The design had to be altered completely, but Derby has taken to it quite well, as always. 

Now, that is what we consider quite a feat towards helping our furry friends. 

January 11, 2016
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